Friday, February 27, 2015

Our Little Lucy Mae

We chose to name her Lucy Mae Spencer.

Pregnancy has never been easy for me. I was told on my mission that I probably couldn't have kids...and I never really had a problem with that. I have a testimony that children are a stewardship given to us. They aren't something we possess, but an opportunity for us to help them get back to their Heavenly Father and love them as much as possible. Because of this, adoption was no different in my mind than giving birth to a child. Once Neil and I got married, we soon found out that we could get pregnant, which came as a surprise to us. We weren't married for very long when we found out we were pregnant. First we were completely shocked and then a little scared...and then the joy comes, an overwhelming indescribable joy. We lost that baby, around 10 weeks and learned that I had something called Uterus Dydelphus. (You can look that up and learn more...its quite interesting) We learned that getting pregnant isn't hard, but it is keeping the baby alive that was the hard part. Learning this gave us hope that we could have children. 

Now, just a quick history: We had three miscarriages (all different lengths of pregnancy) before we had our Preston. He went full term and was a big, healthy baby. The joy we felt was amazing and made up for all the loss we felt before him. We thought that we had it figured out and could try again when we were ready and maybe have more children. The hope was that we did it once and knew it was possible. When Preston was 6 months old we decided to try for a second. (yes, crazy i know now...but didn't feel it then, haha.) We had two more miscarriages and then Mason joined our family. There were several moments that I thought we even lost Mason, but we were so blessed that he could keep growing and came only two weeks early. Mason came smaller than Preston, but healthy and happy. He was such a smiley little one so early on. After all that we knew more kids were going to be harder than expected. 7 pregnancies, 5 miscarriages. We weren't quite sure when we would be ready to try again. 

Life can get really crazy, and that is when we are often pushed even further. I know our Heavenly Father loves us so much. Last fall we were building our house, dealing with Mason's Eosinophilic Esophagitis and all the testing and procedures that go along with that, trying to potty train Preston, constantly sick children, and living for a while with my sister-in-law and her family. Life wasn't exactly easy. One particular week I was so tired and couldn't shake it and then realized I was a week late. I took a pregnancy test and was shocked when it was positive. We weren't planning or trying or anything. I felt completely drained and wasn't sure I had more to give, but knew that this was a miracle. We were so blessed to find a specialist that gave us the required hormones and medicine to get the process going for us. We found out early, so we were hopeful and so grateful that everything seemed to fall into place so quickly. Heavenly Father was really watching out for us. 

Life was rough. I was so sick and had such a hard time taking care of the children. Neil worked so hard to keep us all together. He was up with the children at night, waking up with them in the morning and getting them breakfast, dressed and ready for the day. He would call and text and then come home and spend his time playing with the boys. He put them to bed and then would often go back to work on his laptop. He worked so, so hard for our little family and Lucy, but we were excited to possibly have a girl and complete our family.

We had such hope. I went to the doctors almost every two weeks and heard her little heartbeat every single time...healthy and happy. She was a mover and didn't like to stay in once place for very long. I started cramping around 12 weeks and went in a little concerned. I was told that it was contractions and that I needed to take it easy and not lift over 20 pounds. I had lots of family help and Neil, once again, jumped in even harder to make it all happen. I had never felt more fragile before. My body couldn't handle much and I was so worried about this little one making it.

The day we found out, we were heading to my cousin's funeral. I knew I needed to go to the appointment though, so at 9 I headed to the doctor and had my mom drop me off at the hospital on her way down for the viewing. We planned for Neil to meet me at the doctors and then we would go  to the funeral together. We thought that since I was 17 weeks that we might find out the gender and were so excited about that! We wanted a girl. I went in and the nurse started with the  heart beat monitor and couldn't seem to find it. This wasn't normal for me since I usually went in for a ultrasound. I started to worry, but she didn't seem concerned. They decided to get me into an ultrasound room to just see things better and see the heartbeat. It seemed to take quite a while for that to happen. Once I got into the room I was already super apprehensive and nervous. She got everything ready and I laid down on the bed. She put the wand on my stomach and it immediately showed a perfect view of the baby. She was still and there was no heartbeat. I knew in that moment. Nobody needed to say anything. She kept moving the wand around trying to make something happen, but finally she gave up and said she was sorry and was going to go get the doctor. Right as she was leaving Neil walked in. He excitedly asked if I saw the gender and that was when I started to cry. It was so unexpected and saying it out loud to him made it all of a sudden more real. It was real. I was so happy he was there. He held me as I cried and cried and kept apologizing to him. I struggle knowing that my body is so imperfect and is the reason we can't seem to keep children. I know it's not my fault, but always know that it is me. Neil has always been such an amazing husband. He has a strong testimony of the love of our Heavenly Father and of the power of the Priesthood. Anyways, back to the story...the doctor came in to verify and saw the same thing. This time Neil was there to see as well. She measured the baby's head and said that it must have happened in the last couple days or so. She apologized as well and then started talking to us about what we wanted to do. There were no signs for me, like there normally bleeding or increased cramping or nausea. It was so sudden. She gave us the option of seeing if it would happen naturally, but wasn't sure how long that would take. She also said we could induce labor, but there was a risk that the placenta might not come, so we would have to go in and have a D and C to remove that and ensure everything was okay. The other option was a D and C to begin with. We decided to think about it and go to the funeral. 

Later that day we decided to do a D and C. The thought broke my heart because I felt like it wasn't enough. I wanted to know the gender and hold this baby, but knew that at the growth the baby was it wouldn't look like what I expected and might be quite deformed. I wasn't sure I could handle that either. After weighing the risks and options it was decided. I called the doctors and they said that the soonest they could schedule the procedure was on Monday morning, really early. I wanted it to be Thursday or Friday, but that wasn't possible. So, we waited...and endured the weekend. 

Thursday was so hard. I just wanted to stay in bed all day and cry. My body was exhausted and I was mentally exhausted. I was blessed to have lots of family in town because of the funeral that helped me so much. I'm so grateful for family and friends that were here for support and just to listen. Each day got a little easier and with my mom here I was quite distracted. Neil was struggling at this point, more than I expected and I started thinking about him more and worried about his grieving process. 

Sunday night Neil and I talked about how we were so ready for this to be over and for my body to stop feeling pregnant and get back to normal life. Neil and Carl gave me a blessing in preparation for Monday morning. (I want you...I guess anyone that reads know that these experiences are sweet and close to my heart and a little hard to share. I will edit a little because of privacy, but speak as candidly as possible.) It was such a sweet blessing. My heart was filled with such love from my Heavenly Father. I felt comforted in the choice that we had made. At one point Neil paused...and got a little emotional, and then said that my angel babies would be supporting me through this. I felt that so deeply and was so grateful. Neil also received a blessing from Carl that we would be given added strength, patience, love and so many other wonderful things. I know that the next day I felt all of those as we were together struggling. We went to bed that night ready for the next morning. 

Monday we woke up early and left the kids at home with my mom. We left around 7:15. It was freezing cold outside. We got to the hospital and started filling out the pre-registration information. Then, we waited to be called back to pre-op. This seemed to take forever. I was fasting and so so nauseous. They finally called us back and told me to get undressed and dressed in the hospital gown and pants. At the same time they gave Neil more paperwork to fill out. I went to the bathroom and then came back and started to dress when Neil looked up at me and said he wasn't sure he could fill these out...with some tears in his eyes. I came over and sat next to him wondering what the paperwork was for and saw that they wanted us to write down the name of the baby and the stats and situation in which the baby died. We were further along than we things changed. They had us fill out a birth certificate and past pregnancy history. We didn't expect this at all. It was so hard. We didn't realize that the state of Utah recognized this as a stillborn baby. Neil filled out the paperwork while I got dressed and we talked about what to put down for the answers. We named the baby Baby Spencer since we didn't know gender yet. They got me ready with my iv and antibiotics, etc. Then I looked at Neil and just lost it. I couldn't seem to stop crying. The nurses left and then we had a little while before the doctor came in. Neil held my hand and I cried. The doctor came in and we talked about the procedure. I asked her to find our gender and she said she would try and then we talked about what else we needed to do, like evaluate the placenta, etc. She told us about the risks and that she had asked two other doctors to aid her since it was a little bit more involved than normal. She went up to get ready and I got sent to the anesthesiologist. I was actually in the OR before I was under, which I've never experienced before. Then, I don't remember anything else until I woke up. I remember having this intense desire to hold my baby and asking the nurse if she could give her to me...and was confused why she wouldn't. She kept saying "just open your eyes sweetie and look around" over and over again. Finally I was able to and realized and remembered. It was a harsh sad reality. For some reason I knew it was a girl in that moment. And looking around my heart broke again.

I was exhausted and remember very little as they wheeled me to post-op to meet Neil. I remember hearing his voice and wanting him to hold me, but being so so tired. My throat was killing me since I was intubated and I was also starving since it had been almost 14 hours since I ate last. The nurse brought me some water and crackers. Then I asked Neil what the doctor said and how everything went. He said everything went well and that it was a girl. He was worried since it took almost an hour longer than normal, but since everything was okay he felt better. I knew it was a girl and laid their knowing and crying. I wanted a girl so badly. I such a strong desire to name her and hold her. I drifted  in and out of sleep for a while and held Neil's hand for most of it. He was so sweet and caring...making sure I was okay and feeling somewhat normal. Once I really woke up I got ready to go, getting dressed and filling out the final paperwork and getting the pain meds and uterus contracting meds. They got a wheelchair for me and took me to the car. I was starving and so Neil and I grabbed some sandwiches from Kneaders on the way home. The drive was sad. It felt over...and yet I didn't feel closure. I told Neil that I wanted to name her and thought Lucy was a good name for her. 

When we got home I could still feel the effects of the anesthesia and was exhausted. Neil gave me the needed medicine and then I went upstairs to take a nap. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, but then I woke up suddenly crying and couldn't stop. Mason was napping and Neil had taken Preston to the store. I called for my mom and she came up and laid with me. She rubbed my head while I just cried and cried and told her about what happened, how it felt and hurt. She turned on some soothing music and just kept listening and rubbing my head until I fell asleep again. I'm so grateful she was here to help with the kids, as well as Neil and I. She helped me keep it together and also let me cry when I needed to. Monday was a hard day, but we got through it. Once I woke up Neil came and helped me go downstairs to see the boys and we talked. I told him again I wanted to name her and he agreed. We chatted about names and decided on Lucy Mae. He thought we should celebrate Lucy Mae day and get some pink balloons and all release them. It was beautiful and perfect for what our little family needed. Neil is such an amazing man and watching him think about this and talk about girl names was so perfect. We ate dinner and then each had a pink balloon to let go. I cried and cried, but it was a good cry. I felt some closure and happiness. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of a Heavenly Father that loves me and loves my Lucy Mae. Someday I will hold her and get to play with her.

I will always remember "Lucy Mae Day". I really have been changed forever. It's amazing how that can happen so suddenly. I wanted the day to keep going since I wanted to remember her a little more...but it felt like night came so fast. It was hard to stop thinking about everything that happened that day, but since I was exhausted I was able to sleep pretty well. Tuesday was a new day, which I am so thankful for. I decided the night before that I was going to put together a little box for her with a dress, my hospital bands, her birth certificate, a balloon from the Monday, and my experience and testimony. I'm still not sure why I wanted to do this, but for some reason it felt right to me...a remembrance box for her. During the day there were a few times when I couldn't help but cry. Funny little things, like rocking Mason to sleep and wanting to hold her. Or, playing with Preston and wondering who she would've looked like. I still cry when I think about those things, but I know that will get easier. Tuesday night my Mom watched the boys so that Neil and I could go to the temple. It was a beautiful experience. The feeling that exudes from those walls is so sacred. Neil and I sat and just soaked it in. I felt so at peace and happy. I love going to the temple. Afterwards we went to Target to find Lucy a dress. We chose this beautiful pink dress with a cute little white sweater. As we were looking Neil found two Superman jackets that had capes attached to the back in Preston and Mason's sizes. Needless to say we had to get them. So, we took our things to the check out and the cashier said,  "so, you have two boys and a girl, huh. " I looked at Neil and almost burst into tears. I told him yes and we grabbed the bags and walked away. I did start crying as Neil wrapped an arm around me as we walked away and confirmed that yes, we have two boys and a girl. It was a tender moment. I loved that Lucy was recognized and mentioned. For some reason it just touched my heart. We then got something to eat and headed home. I arranged Lucy's box and can't seem to put it away anywhere, but just in my room. I want to be able to see it. 

There seems to be a day, when everyone leaves and you feel most alone. For me, Wednesday was that day. My mom went home and I was left with the boys, which is totally normal, but felt so different. Life really has changed. My body feels it and I know my family feels it. Neil and I feel it the most...but as I have talked to family I see that they also feel the loss of our sweet girl. I'm so grateful for that support and love. 

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father has given us an opportunity to live on this earth, even when it hurts so bad. I know that I can see and hold Lucy again and I am so excited for that experience. I can only dream of what it will be like. I am so blessed to have such a loving Heavenly Father. He knows me and I know that he cries with me. I know that through this I have also felt the love of my Savior. He understands me completely and has felt this pain. My family really can be an eternal family because of Him and all He has done. 

Each day gets a little better. Winter is coming to an end and spring will be here soon. I feel hope when I read my scriptures, pray and spend time with my family. Thank you so much for your love and support. It is amazing how you can feel it, even from miles away. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Day I'm Two!

Preston turned two this year (on June 7th) and we had so much fun celebrating his birthday. We planned a party for him at the park and had lots of people come and play. It was a big BBQ! He loves playing at the parks at Lake Elizabeth, so we decided that would be a good place to host this party. We didn't know that everyone else had that same idea, but luckily we had a great spot where we could see the kids play and enjoy the great food.

Side Story: So, we got to Lake Elizabeth and let Preston play as we got set up. I had my eye on him for a little while and thought that I knew where he was. Then, I realized I hadn't seen him in a little while. Usually this instinct comes when he is about to run away or go further then I want him to be. However, it was a little late this time. I started walking around the play area and couldn't find him. A friend started helping me look and then after we could find him she got her husband to start looking to. I was terrified! ( We loose him as soon as he turns two! What!?) Anyways, so I went and told Neil that I couldn't find him. Neil was grilling at the time and got someone else to take over so that he could help in the search. We were scared because we were at a Lake and Preston loves the water. I kept thinking that I was going to find him drowned in the lake somewhere...which didn't help the contractions I been feeling lately either. I am supposed to have low stress and this was above a 10 on the high stress scale. I kept walking around and asking people if they saw him....and nobody seemed to know anything. Finally, my friends husband spotted him being carried by a couple of Police Officers and Park Rangers. He was as happy as could be with a gold sticker. So, they brought him to Neil and then Neil came and found me. I have to say that I had to hold back to tears and try to keep myself composed. I have never felt so scared in my life and then so relieved and happy to see Preston okay. One of the men that found him said that he was near the water at a wading area and was happy to see them. He let them take him wherever...which is also scary! He has no stranger danger whatsoever.

Anyways, back to the party. After getting myself back together after loosing my son we had a great time. I always knew where Preston was and we had a great time eating hot dogs and hamburgers with everyone that came. We have some really amazing friends who are so supportive and helpful. We had cake and enjoyed the wonderful California sun.

Thanks to everyone that came! We sure are blessed by you everyday!

Since we had the party a week after Preston's real birthday we decided to do something small for his birthday day and then the big party the week later.

Here are a couple of pictures of both days (the 7th and the 15th): Enjoy!

These are a few of the small bunt cake we got for his birthday. He was so excited to see the candles, and loves chocolate cake. 

Here are pictures of the party. All the kids were so excited for cake. Preston loved it when everyone sang to him...he seems to love attention! 

We love the park and we love a good BBQ with lots of wonderful friends! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Treats!

Sundays seem to be the perfect day for baking. I always feel like a dessert on Sunday night, and we try to do things as a family, so we have discovered that baking together is something we all enjoy. Neil has always been somewhat of a dessert master baker and Preston loves making cookies and all sorts of treats where he can taste as we go. Tonight we decided on brownies and cookies...since we couldn't decide. Preston and I made some white chocolate-cranberry cookies and Neil made some brownies, Ghirardelli brownies non-the less....yummy! We freeze most of the batter, but make enough to enjoy a few tonight. (We are trying to be healthy most of the week.)

Here are a few shots of somewhat of a family tradition!

I love watching Preston try to help and wear his cute! I have learned that even though he is a boy (and we will have two boys soon)...doesn't mean that they don't like baking just like me! We don't play anything with princesses, but we do love baking and painting!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Boys Boys Boys!

It has definitely been a long time since I blogged...lots has been going on in our lives. But we are so happy to announce that we are having a baby boy! Can you believe it?! We are really excited for Preston to have another little playmate and fun little brother. Preston really has no clue that i'm pregnant right now, but someday he will understand!

Currently I am 20 weeks along and doing well! We have some great doctors that we are working with and are planning on delivering at Stanford hospital. We are due October 3rd and excited to meet this little guy! Even when pregnancy isn't easy, i'm so grateful that we have this opportunity to meet these little spirits. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Adventures in the City

I absolutely love San Francisco! We have done a lot of different things in the city, but this trip topped them all. After Emily and Allen's wedding I was able to stay with Mom and Dad and drive down to California for their adult Lyon's reunion. We were invited to also tag along on this fun adult reunion, along with Ryan and my cousin Jason who just got back from a mission to France. We stayed at the Wyndam Resort in the city that was right by Union Square. The resort was beautiful! We stayed in a two bedroom room that had a middle family room, dining area and then a kitchen. We got there on Thursday afternoon and hung out at the hotel till Sharon and Steve got there and had a wonderful BBQ ribs dinner that Grandpa and Margaret made. The next day we started the adventures!

These photos are of Mt. Shasta from the car as we drove down to California. Preston was actually really good in the car for the 14 hr drive. I was a little bit worried about what it would be like with him, but we put in the Wiggles DVD's and he was happy! Thank goodness for technology...haha.

China Town was where it all started for us. We walked several blocks from our hotel to the from gate and just browsed the streets checking out all the little shops. We stopped at the Fortune Cookie Factory. Now, when I was told we were going to the Fortune Cookie Factory I was surprised that I had never seen this place before, but when we got there I knew why. It was in a back alley and a very tiny building. Itwas one room where you walked in , watched a lday working on the machine, got a free sample, and then walked out. It was very intresesting for sure! China town always has such fun things to look at and play with and some great bargains too! There was so many colorful things for Preston to look at and fun statues to take pictures by.

After China Town we went to a French restaurant for lunch and then Ryan and I went home so that Preston could nap. While I stayed home the rest of the clan were able to go see Lands' End, which is the furthest jetty on the West Coast and a beautiful park with some fun things to see. Grandpa and Margaret came back early to pick up Tom, Cindy, and Jason and then we all met up to go to dinner later that night.

It was nice to be close  to where Neil works. He was able to meet up with us for dinner on Friday night. We went to a nice place near Union Square that was delicious! Then afterwards a few of us took the trolley from Union Square down to Ghiradelli Square for dessert! I love that place...the chocolate is amazing! I shared a brownie sundae with Ryan and it was delicious.  I don't think I have ever been on a trolley either, so that was fun. I was able to hang out on the side on the way back with Ryan. Neil was so nice and took Preston back to go to sleep for the night and let me go with the gang.

Saturday was a whole new day full of fun in the sun. Literally though, the sun was shining and it was so hot. A few of us got sun burned by the end of the day. We started off going to the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped to take a few photos and then went over to the visitors center, which was recently updated. We walked over the bridge a little bit and then walked back. It sure was beautiful!

After the Bridge we went over to the Presidio and into the Walk Disney Family Museum. This museum was huge! It didn't look very big from the outside, but there was so much inside that I was amazed. It started with the Disney family history, which was very interesting...and we noticed that there was a family name in there. The next Sunday Neil figured out the family connection. Walt Disney's mother was Flora Call. If we got back 6 generations from Walt Disney and 8 generations from me our family lines meet up at Samuel Call who married Abigail Sprague. I was impressed the Neil figured it all out! How neat is that...we are related to Walt Disney. I think that means we should get discounted prices to the parks...haha. Anyways, the Disney museum was really cool. Mom and Grandpa stayed out with Preston while he napped a little and then played with him after he woke up.

After the Museum we were able to play on the grass for a while and eat lunch and just chill. Later that afternoon we went to Pier 39 and then on a Bay Cruise! I have never been on a bay cruise and it was really cool. We went out and around Alcatraz Island and then to the bridge and then back around. We were able to see a cool skyline of the city and even a Naval ship returning to dock. After we got back from the cruise we went to dinner on the Pier and ate some fresh fish! Tom and Ryan had the crab special and got all messy, while we ordered Preston a hot dog and then ended up eating my fish instead. He would rather have fish almost any day. He's such a funny kid.

After dinner we all headed back to the hotel and most people called it a night, however...we had to drive back to Fremont since we needed to teach our Sunday School class the next day. The rest of the family stayed up there through mid day on Sunday. It was fun to see more of the city and also spend time with family. We are really blessed to be able to be close with those we love and do fun things like this with them. Thanks so much Grandpa and Margaret for inviting us!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meet the Joneses

Two weddings in one year was busy but so much fun! Emily and Allen were married on June 16th in the Seattle Temple. It was a great day and always amazing how the spirit just shines in the temple ceremony. It was fun watching Emily and Allen look at each other so lovingly and happy. We took their formal wedding photos on Thursday, which made Saturday so much more care free for the whole gang. Their ceremony was at 10:00 and then their reception was later that night at 6:30. The reception was at the church buildling which we decorated. It had a great garden feel with while lanterns hanging on the ceiling and plants around the gym. Instead of a traditional cake Emily and Allen had cake pops. I had never heard of this, but it was fun and they were certainly delicious. It has been fun to see family so much this year and watch them get married!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sweet Treats

At our house food is something we love! We love our desserts, that's for sure! Even though we love sweet treats, we do usually eat really healthy. Preston can down melon like there is no tomorrow and loves smoked salmon. I don't bake nearly as much as I used to, but last week was long and hard and we seemed to be hit with one thing right after another and I thought that called for something yummy. So, I got on pinterest and searched through the recipes and found a website that adapted mixes into new desserts. I thought that sounded interesting and less time consuming, so I looked through them and tried one out.

I got the recipe here, and I made a few adjustments for mine.

Here is the recipe I made:

Birthday Cake Oreo Cookie-Stuffed Brownies topped with Marshmallows and Chocolate Bits
Makes 24 brownies
1 Box brownie mix
15-20 Double stuff Oreo's (I used the white and chocolate ones)
1/2 bag mini marshmallows
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or any mini chips
Preheat oven to spcified temperature on brownie box. Mix brownies according to the directions on the box. Spread half the brownie batter in prepared pan. Place Oreos on top of brownie batter (I did 3 across by 5 rows = 15 Oreos). Top with the remaining brownie batter and smooth it over the top, very slightly pushing the Oreos down with your spatula, very lightly. Be prepared to add marshmallows with only about 10 minutes left to bake and then chocolate chips with 4 minutes left.  Bake 26 to 30 minutes or until brownies are set, taking care not to overbake. (Insert a toothpick into the center of the pan, and avoid inserting it into an Oreo, to check for doneness. Toothpick may not come out entirely clean even when done because these are very fudgy brownies). Note the brownies may “puff up” quite dramatically in their final minutes of cooking and this is okay.